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Graphene oxide (GO) obtention and encapsulation via controlled radical RAFT emulsion polymerization

Grant number: 20/16212-0
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): April 01, 2021
Effective date (End): March 31, 2022
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Chemical Engineering - Chemical Technology
Principal researcher:Amilton Martins dos Santos
Grantee:Harícia de Almeida Souza
Home Institution: Escola de Engenharia de Lorena (EEL). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Lorena , SP, Brazil


Nanocomposites (NCs) have great scientific relevance due to the possibility of achieving superior properties when combining nanoparticles and polymeric matrices, obtaining special materials for a multitude of applications. In recent years, graphene oxide (GO) has attracted growing interest in obtaining NCs because it provides unique properties of the chemistry of graphene to the material, combined with a surface more prone to functionalization and dispersion into aqueous phase than graphene. In order to maximize properties enhancement, in-situ controlled/living polymerization techniques have been employed to make GO encapsulation feasible, such as RAFT emulsion polymerization. However, there are still challenges into those NCs routes at industrial scale due to high cost associated with the preliminary stages of obtaining and purifying macroRAFT agents employed into these approaches. In this context, this project aims to develop a new and simplified synthetic route, which allows the encapsulation of GO via controlled/living RAFT emulsion polymerization, in a surfactant-free system, stabilized solely by self-aggregation induced polymerization (PISA) in-situ borne structures. As a first step, GO will be synthesized by the Hummers method. After this, the adsorption profile of the chain transfer agent (CTARAFT) will be evaluated, aiming to optimize its adsorption onto the GO surface. CTARAFT's efficiency for encapsulating GO nanoparticles will be evaluated, considering surfactant-free emulsion polymerization of the methyl methacrylate (MMA), n-butyl acrylate (BA) and acrylic acid (AA) in a semicontinuous process.